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At 74, I have NEVER owned a pick up.   I've always been a car guy.  I'm so anti-pickup that I've towed my Maverick bracket car with a Merc Grand Marquis (185K, no engine or trans trouble ever) .  I constantly get flak for towing with a car.  That Merc has been all over the east coast, up mountains in 1st gear, etc and it is, IMHO,  the BEST car ever made.  However, it is getting old and I considered getting a newer Merc until I saw the new Ranger.  Now I am probably going to get one this spring.  Would anybody care to estimate how many Rangers Ford is expecting to sell monthly and would it be more prudent to wait  for a time while all the bugs of a new vehicle launch are ironed out?   

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I don't know what it is currently but at one point earlier this year they were estimating about 125k a year. I'm sure that number has changed based on reactions in the press and social media.

 

As for waiting, my personal rule is to wait a minimum of 6 months before buying a brand new model. I also happen to work at the plant that builds the Ranger and I can tell you they are taking it very slowly in final assembly to try and avoid some of the launch issues that has plagued Ford for the last 10 years or so. So far it's kind of working but it's VERY early in and there are still a lot of kinks to work out, but progress is being made from what I know. 

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This is the kind of due diligence that was lacking in all the other trouble ridden starts, it bodes well for Ranger getting off to a good start.

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Ford probably doesn't want to damage their truck reputation. It's a good start, as mentioned above, just wish and hope Ford applies this careful approach to all their future vehicles.

 

If you're going to build something, build it right.  Build something you can be proud of.  

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I'm not surprised to hear the Merc has served you well. You're far from the first person to use it for a tow vehicle. Those things are Ford truck underneath the sedan top hat so they handle it well. Completely misunderstood by the car buying public and abandoned by Ford, it's a shame they had to die.

That said, reality is reality and Ford doesn't make them anymore. I think you'll find the Ranger to be a very good replacement if it's anything like the Ford trucks that have come before it. It should be about the same size as your Merc, except narrower by about 8 inches, so don't plan on the middle back seat being as roomy as the Merc. Other than that, the turbo 2.3 w/ 10-spd is going to be a completely different experience coming from the 4.6 w/ 4r70w you've got now. I'm sure this'll make the a Ranger much faster if that matters to you.

Like others have said, my opinion is to wait a little while to make sure there's no teething issues with the launch. Since the basic T6 Ranger platform has been used in rest of world for several years now, major problems should be limited. The powertrain is also not new to the US, so that should limit problems there as well.

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If you want one, built to order, delivered before June, you had better get that order in as soon as the order banks open !  I suspect there will be a large quantity on dealer lots by spring, but they will likely be "high end".

As for "get the bugs out", the old rule of thumb was a whole model year.  Now a days, I would say 6 months after Job #1.

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I wouldn't wait if you really want or need one now.  Just understand that you may run into a problem or two that requires a dealer visit.  These first model year problems are usually easily resolved and won't reoccur.   The engine and transmission are the most worrisome as engineering or manufacturing issues can be difficult to identify and fix (compared with fluid leaks, etc.), but the engine and transmission for the Ranger are tried and true so not much to worry about there.

 

I bought one of the first 2006 Fusions off the truck and kept it for 7 years and had only a broken door handle and a noisy hvac blower - about $60 total.

I also bought a first model year 2000 Lincoln LS and a 2013 Fusion.  Both had minor issues that required a couple of dealer visits and a few DIY repairs but nothing serious.

Waiting is safer but you also lose the enjoyment of the vehicle for that time.   If you don't mind a couple of dealer visits I say go for it now.

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3 hours ago, Sevensecondsuv said:

Completely misunderstood by the car buying public and abandoned by Ford, it's a shame they had to die.

It was not misunderstood at all and Ford didn't abandon it - new car buyers abandoned it because used ones were so cheap and because newer unibody cars handled so much better and had better NVH.  It's ok that you liked them - they were probably the best of the BOF cars for durability at least - but let's not pretend they were better than the unibody replacements.

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I agree with the sentiment of "wait until the bugs are worked out" on any new model launch...but in this case, Ranger is only "new" to North America, the 2.3L is a proven powerplant and the 10 speed transmission has been out for over a year now with little issue...I would say that you are "good to go" at launch...order away.

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24 minutes ago, akirby said:

It was not misunderstood at all and Ford didn't abandon it - new car buyers abandoned it because used ones were so cheap and because newer unibody cars handled so much better and had better NVH.  It's ok that you liked them - they were probably the best of the BOF cars for durability at least - but let's not pretend they were better than the unibody replacements.

That depends on one's definition of better. If you wanted to tow trailers, needed a 60" wide rear seat, or needed a trunk the size a ranger bed, the "replacements" (I use quotes because there is no true replacement in terms of dimensions from any manufacturer) were decidedly worse.

I've also recently discovered another downside to unibody here in the rust belt. Certain structural pieces made of stamped sheet metal found in unibody designs have little margin for corrosion before they loose their structural integrity. Frames have a lot more corrosion margin since they're substantially thicker. It's really only an issue if you plan on keeping a car more than 10 years or so in the rust belt.

All that said, I would have welcomed a unibody replacement for the panther. The taurus wasn't big enough and fwd is never going to be the same as rwd.

And as you like to point out in other threads, handling doesn't matter to most buyers past a certain point. Example being most buyers are content with crossovers despite the fact that the sedan counterparts handle better. Panthers certainly don't handle any worse than the average crossover, so I don't think that was an impediment. As for NVH, I find our '07 Town Car has a comparable level of NVH as the '05 LS it replaced.

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7 minutes ago, Sevensecondsuv said:

Panthers certainly don't handle any worse than the average crossover, so I don't think that was an impediment.

I don't want to get into that here, but that's patently false in terms of body roll, slalom speed and lateral grip (skidpad/cornering).

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26 minutes ago, akirby said:

I don't want to get into that here, but that's patently false in terms of body roll, slalom speed and lateral grip (skidpad/cornering).

You've lost your mind. You really need to drive a recent panther before making these wild, baseless claims.

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4 hours ago, Sevensecondsuv said:

I'm not surprised to hear the Merc has served you well. You're far from the first person to use it for a tow vehicle. Those things are Ford truck underneath the sedan top hat so they handle it well. Completely misunderstood by the car buying public and abandoned by Ford, it's a shame they had to die.

That said, reality is reality and Ford doesn't make them anymore. I think you'll find the Ranger to be a very good replacement if it's anything like the Ford trucks that have come before it. It should be about the same size as your Merc, except narrower by about 8 inches, so don't plan on the middle back seat being as roomy as the Merc. Other than that, the turbo 2.3 w/ 10-spd is going to be a completely different experience coming from the 4.6 w/ 4r70w you've got now. I'm sure this'll make the a Ranger much faster if that matters to you.

Like others have said, my opinion is to wait a little while to make sure there's no teething issues with the launch. Since the basic T6 Ranger platform has been used in rest of world for several years now, major problems should be limited. The powertrain is also not new to the US, so that should limit problems there as well.

?...Ford didn't abandon the Crown Vic and Grand Marquis...the buying public did....the last few years of production we had a couple that had two year birthdays...and that was WITH 5k in rebates....why on earth Ford would continue manufacturing a car that barring PI units sat and rusted I have no idea. Cant believe there are still people "grieving: over a vehicle whos time has long gone.

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To answer your question more specifically, the highest known VIN is 13,564 with a Build Date of January 28th, 2019.

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15 minutes ago, Sevensecondsuv said:

You've lost your mind. You really need to drive a recent panther before making these wild, baseless claims.

Uh-

Charger                             FWD Impala                      CVPI
27.9 sec @ 0.60 g avg    27.1 sec @ 0.64 g avg    28.6 sec @ 0.58 g avg

This from a 2008 test of Police interceptors

2010 Taurus SHO 0:26.80
 

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VINs are not built in sequential order. Not sure why. 

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Just now, silvrsvt said:

Uh-

Charger                             FWD Impala                      CVPI
27.9 sec @ 0.60 g avg    27.1 sec @ 0.64 g avg    28.6 sec @ 0.58 g avg

This from a 2008 test of Police interceptors

2010 Taurus SHO 0:26.80
 

Never let facts get in the way of a good story 

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7 minutes ago, fuzzymoomoo said:

VINs are not built in sequential order. Not sure why. 

Yes it's not a great way to estimate when a truck will be built, but it does tell how many will be built.

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Many times your specific configuration can be delayed if you have a feature that is in short supply or has been delayed.  I run into this frequently.  

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12 hours ago, fuzzymoomoo said:

I don't know what it is currently but at one point earlier this year they were estimating about 125k a year. I'm sure that number has changed based on reactions in the press and social media.

 

As for waiting, my personal rule is to wait a minimum of 6 months before buying a brand new model. I also happen to work at the plant that builds the Ranger and I can tell you they are taking it very slowly in final assembly to try and avoid some of the launch issues that has plagued Ford for the last 10 years or so. So far it's kind of working but it's VERY early in and there are still a lot of kinks to work out, but progress is being made from what I know. 

Interesting - that's the first indication I've seen that they might be addressing quality issues.

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47 minutes ago, silvrsvt said:

Uh-

Charger                             FWD Impala                      CVPI
27.9 sec @ 0.60 g avg    27.1 sec @ 0.64 g avg    28.6 sec @ 0.58 g avg

This from a 2008 test of Police interceptors

2010 Taurus SHO 0:26.80

This proves my point. The CV was within .02g of the closest rwd unibody competition. That's a pretty insignificant difference.  I also never said it handled better than every other car.  All I said was that it was at least on par with the average crossover. That's a no-brainer looking at those numbers. As for elapsed time, the panther was certainly hampered by it's poor power/weight ratio and ancient 4 spd automatic trans. Even then, it's still in the same ballpark.

Also, you all realize that the 2003-2011 panthers utilize the same suspension design as an 2005-2014 mustang, right? They both have short-long independent with coil springs up front and a live axle with 4-link and coils in the rear. The 'stang uses a simple panhard bar to locate the axle laterally whereas the panther actually has a watts link from the factory. For those that aren't aware, a watts link is a major aftermarket upgrade in handling for an 05-14 mustang. If you go look at parts, all front and rear control arms look remarkably similar between the two vehicles.

Note that 03+ panther suspensions are completely different than the 02- cars. You'd be forgiven for not realizing this since the top hats look nearly identical between the two generations.

In summary, I'm not claiming the panthers are the be-all-end-all of driving dynamics. They are large, heavy-duty people haulers that hold their own just fine as far as handling goes when compared to other mass-market large sedans and crossovers. There's also nothing magical about BOF either. It's just what the panthers happen to have and Ford did an excellent job of making it competitive in the final years.

The sales demise was a simple product of a couple factors. 1) The industry trend of falling sedan sales, and 2) people want new/fresh and the panthers looked anything but.

Edited by Sevensecondsuv

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Not the place to continue the panther argument.  Believe whatever you want to believe.

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2 hours ago, Sevensecondsuv said:

This proves my point. The CV was within .02g of the closest rwd unibody competition. That's a pretty insignificant difference.  I also never said it handled better than every other car.  All I said was that it was at least on par with the average crossover. That's a no-brainer looking at those numbers. As for elapsed time, the panther was certainly hampered by it's poor power/weight ratio and ancient 4 spd automatic trans. Even then, it's still in the same ballpark.

mmary, I'm not claiming the panthers are the be-all-end-all of driving dynamics. They are large, heavy-duty people haulers that hold their own just fine as far as handling goes when compared to other mass-market large sedans and crossovers. There's also nothing magical about BOF either. It's just what the panthers happen to have and Ford did an excellent job of making it competitive in the final years.

 

But yet they drove like an old wornout sofa...

 

 

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9 minutes ago, silvrsvt said:

 

But yet they drove like an old wornout sofa..

You might as well go bang your head on the wall.   You can't change his mind no matter how much data you produce.  At least when you bang your head on the wall it will eventually stop hurting.

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My experience is that the 1997 Merc I have was/is the BEST car I've ever owned.  It required almost nothing from me and STILL runs like new.  It never bothered me that lateral acceleration was a tad behind other cars  because I never used it as slalom racer.  It was a daily driver and tow vehicle that dragged a 5500 lb trailer and '62 Galaxie for many years.  I absolutely LOVE this car.......but it looks like crap now.  Paint faded, dirty interior.  I just think it belongs in the CAR HALL of FAME  for service above and beyond the call of duty!   LOL

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